Consultations begin on Quebec education law
Quebec Education Minister Bernard Drainville is likely to have a bad day on Thursday as several groups are ready to criticize his Bill 23, predicts Quebec Solidaire (QS) MNA Ruba Ghazal.
"Teachers, parents, even principals, nobody has asked for structural reform, but the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is obsessed with structural reform and centralizing power," she said at a news conference. "Bill 23 is not going to provide more services to students in our schools. It is not going to bring in more teachers, more professionals. It is just going to make the minister all-powerful."
If Bill 23 is adopted, the Minister of Education will have full power to appoint the directors general of school service centres, overturn their decisions or dismiss them.
The minister will be able to overturn a decision made by a service centre and "make the decision that, in his opinion, should have been made in the first place," the bill reads.
Drainville also wants to improve the collection of information in the network; he hopes to create a "dashboard," such as the one that exists in the health sector.
Bill 23 also enacts the National Institute of Excellence in Education Act, which creates an institute to promote excellence in education services.
The legislation would also replace the name Conseil supérieur de l'éducation with Conseil de l'enseignement supérieur, in order to limit its function to higher education.
In 2016, the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation stated in a report that Quebec schools are the most unequal in Canada. Since taking office, however, Drainville has reiterated that he "does not subscribe" to this notion of a three-tier school.
"We don't need a second education reform. We need to stop the hemorrhaging. We are losing legally qualified teachers every year," said Liberal education spokesperson Marwah Rizqy on Thursday.
"With the current Drainville bill, we're more or less on the right track. Why do we need to centralize?" asked PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
Laval University psychologist and author Égide Royer will be the first to present a brief on Thursday morning. He will be followed by the Fédération des comités de parents du Québec and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, among others.
Specific consultations will be held over four days.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 1, 2023.